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Ankle Injuries: When Do You Need An Xray?

Whether you play football, basketball, volleyball, or soccer, ankle injuries are common in sports. Our first priority as sports medicine physicians is avoiding further injury.

This often means not being able to return to the game immediately. One question that comes up often, usually after the injured athlete has gotten home and the initial efforts – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, have not completely eliminated the pain and swelling, is whether an X-ray is necessary. The two benefits of an X-ray are to evaluate for a broken bone and to elevate the alignment of the ankle joint. Sprains can cause just as much pain and swelling as a broken bone so it is not easy to tell the difference by just looking at the ankle. There are a few simple rules that have been identified to help determine when an X-ray is helpful. There are known as the Ottawa rules, developed in Canada by emergency room physicians to help them reduce the number of X-rays performed when evaluating this...

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